Divorce is hard. It is even harder when children are involved. After the pain has eased and you are ready to start dating again, there is more at stake now as a single parent. This is a whole new world from when it was just you and a completely different set of challenges to make dating work as a single parent. On this journey, you not only have to be on guard for your emotional security, but your children too.
1. Know what you want in a relationship and where your boundaries are. Different from the “typical singles crowd,” as a single parent dating, your children are your number one priority. There will be other singles that will invite you out on a school night or a weekend when you have your children, “Just get a sitter, and come out with me for drinks”. You have to weigh what you’re giving up: time with your children, money for the sitter and SLEEP. Don’t compromise yourself or what you truly want, just to have a date. A “keeper” will figure out how to work within your schedule.
2. If you do meet someone you like and that you think might have potential, decide what your plan will be ahead of time that best meets the needs of your children. For example, how long will you have to date before he/she can be introduced to your children? How will meeting your dates affect your kids if the relationship does not work out? Set your standard now before you start dating anyone, so you aren’t caught off guard when the question comes up. Once you make those decisions regarding your children’s interactions with your dates, stick to your convictions! You know what is best for your family and when someone should be allowed into that special place you share with your kids. Don’t compromise that for anyone.
3. You should make time to focus on yourself and your future happiness. But while this can be a confusing and scary time for you, it is the same for your children. Keep reinforcing that THEY are your first priority. Don’t break plans with them to go on a date. Try and limit conversations with and/or about your new significant other until after they are in bed. Don’t let them feel like they have to compete for your attention. When it’s time for them to meet the special person, sit them down and prepare them for it. Explain how special this person is, but remind them that you love them more than anything, and they will always come first.
4. As tempting as it might be to share this new part of your life, don’t confide in the children about your relationships. Let them be your kids and not your friends. Their job is to have fun, and not to worry about mom or dad. But be willing to answer their questions in an honest, age appropriate way.
5. Don’t rush into something deep and serious too quickly. Take time to learn about the people you date. See if they have what you are looking for and don’t be afraid to move on if they don’t. Enjoy the conversation, do new things, be open to this new experience, but don’t jump into anything too quickly.
Love Locally™ is helping single parents in the DFW Metroplex find love again in a safe and confidential way. Let us share in your experience and help you find the love of your life locally. Find us at www.lovelocally.net, LIKE us on Facebook at Love Locally™ and follow us on Twitter @lovelocallyDFW.